3 ways to unite marketing and finance to achieve long-term, sustainable growth

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The velocity of change in 2020 has been relentless, with big impacts on marketing teams. Marketing has had to take on extra work, pivot from in-person to virtual events, and move from annual planning to continuous iterative planning.

To help their organizations manage a continued digital transformation in 2021—and thrive in our post-pandemic world—marketing needs to work proactively, efficiently, and with agility as circumstances and opportunities continue to evolve. To do this, marketing needs to work more closely with the finance department.

Although marketing and finance have always worked together, their collaboration is often limited to annual meetings to agree on budgets for the year. But in an environment that is constantly shifting and requires iterative planning, marketing and finance need to build and maintain a stronger partnership. Their continuous collaboration will help the business invest in strategies that deliver results and long-term sustainability for a strong post-pandemic comeback.

To explore the opportunities and challenges associated with relationship-building between marketing and finance, CMO Heidi Melin with Workfront, an Adobe company, led a MarTech Today webinar—3 Ways the CMO and the CFO Can Become BFFs. She was joined by EY’s Erik Larson, Americas Digital & Emerging Technology Leader, and Myles Corson, Global Strategy and Markets Leader, Financial Accounting Advisory Services. They shared research findings on the dynamics of marketing and finance relationships, and explained why investing in this partnership is so critical to everyone’s success.

Keep a continuous dialogue going based on shared goals.

As chief advocates for customers in a business, marketers have been relied on during the pandemic to highlight the most urgent actions required to stabilize revenue streams and protect brand value. At the same time, finance teams have had to lock down their budgets to save for the future and mitigate against additional unexpected events.

Coming out of a pandemic, straitened financial circumstances mean that whenever expenditure needs to be authorized, it must demonstrate real incremental value. The conversation between marketing and finance needs to be ongoing and based on mutually understood objectives. This agile planning process, anchored by shared goals, requires continuous dialogue for businesses to be responsive to a fast-changing marketplace.

Embrace different personalities and align on the same priorities.

Strong finance-marketing relationships are based on trust and shared goals. Building that trust should be a top priority for organizations. In many businesses, marketing and finance teams have contrasting personality types and departmental priorities. They should embrace their differences while aligning on shared company goals to establish a more productive and supportive relationship.

Working together more effectively requires cultivating understanding between groups of people who may have very different approaches to achieving the same objectives. Finance may seem cost-focused and risk averse. Marketing teams that work with finance to excel at expenditure management, financial agility, and optimized planning will be the ones that set themselves apart from their competition in 2021.

Share knowledge to strengthen relationships.

There’s no substitute for knowledge sharing—making time to transparently communicate insights and information that support the decision-making process. For example, a CMO sharing information with the CFO about the nuances of digital marketing and the impact that investing in different areas can have on lead generation and customer acquisition. Only by understanding the unique drivers and thought processes of each other’s teams, can marketing and finance come to a shared vision for achieving long-term, sustainable growth for the business.

To learn more about building important bridges between finance and marketing, watch the on-demand webinar in full: 3 Ways the CMO and the CFO Can Become BFFs.